Between starting out as an amphibious sea boat to the luxurious palace that it is today, Air Force One has been through many changes over the years. If all you know about this aircraft is from a certain Harrison Ford movie, then you might want to check out these quick facts about one of the most recognized symbols of the presidency.
It’s 4,000 Square Feet Of Pure Luxury
There is the President’s office, bedroom, bathroom, conference room, gym, 19 televisions, 85 telephones, and an operating room equipped with an onboard doctor. All of this is divided up between the three levels of the plane.
It Can Withstand Almost Anything
The skin on the outside protects against electromagnetic pulses and emits electronic counter measures to jam any enemy radar. The plane even fires defense flares to distract heat-seeking missiles.
The President Has Access To Two Nearly Identical Planes
Both planes have the same amenities and capabilities, the only real difference is the tail codes on each plane. One plane carries 2800 on the tail while the other has 2900.
Air Force Two Is A “Dry” Plane
Air Force Two has one crucial difference that separates itself from Air Force One — it doesn’t serve alcohol! So while the President can have a bourbon while on his transatlantic flight, the Vice President can just sip on some water.
The Presidential Limousine Flies With The President
The Presidential limo is actually loaded in a cargo plane that flies with Air Force One. That way the limo is always there to greet the President when he gets off the plane.
It’s Almost Impossible To Get On Board
The crew members on the plane are actually cleared military personnel — even the chefs! When journalists are allowed on board, they are strictly confined to certain areas and aren’t allowed to be on the same level as the president for most of the flight.
The First Plane Was Amphibious
While there are no confirmed reports of any president actually flying in it, the purported first Air Force One, the Douglas Dolphin, was a luxurious amphibious “flying boat” that could seat four passengers with room for a small sleeping compartment in the back.
It Wasn’t Always Called Air Force One
The “Sacred Cow,” as it was called in the ’40s, featured a passenger compartment equipped with a large desk for the president. The plane first flew in 1945 and only had a top speed of 300 mph.
The Plane Was Designed To Make Long Distance Flights
On one tank of fuel, Air Force One can go a total distance of 7,800 miles. If that wasn’t enough, the plane can be re-fueled in mid-air!
FDR Was The First President To Have His Own Plane
Although he only rode in the plane once before his death, Roosevelt was the first to call the “Sacred Cow” his own.
Air Force One Isn’t Just A Flashy Name
After an incident when Eishenhower’s plane entered the same airspace as another plane—which happened to be using the same call signal—it was decided to change the radio name to Air Force One. The first flight under the call name of Air Force One happened in 1959.
Jackie Kennedy Helped Redesign The Plane
Jackie redesigned the plane from the inside out, with some help from French designer Raymond Loewy. She is also responsible for putting “United States of America” on the sides along with the flag on the tail.
There’s No Escape Pod On The Real Plane
Despite what Harrison Ford says in the 1997 thriller “Air Force One,” there is no escape pod on board the actual plane. The plane functions like any other commercial plane, but the pilots are trained to safely guide the plane out of any dangerous situations.